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S. Fla. Man Celebrates Valentine’s Day With New Heart

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Santiago Carmona sits with his doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital after his successful heart transplant surgery. (CBS4)

Santiago Carmona sits with his doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital after his successful heart transplant surgery. (CBS4)

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MIAMI (CBS4) – On this Valentine’s Day, a South Florida man is celebrating the ultimate gift of love: a new heart.

For the past 27 years Santiago Carmona, a husband, father of two and professional saxophone player, has been living with a debilitating heart condition that prevented him from leading a normal life and doing all the things he loves.

“I could not walk far it was hard, I would spend all day in bed waiting for a heart to come,” said Carmona as he sat in a conference room surrounded by doctors and loved ones at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

His prayers were answered one week ago after being on Jackson Memorial Hospital’s heart transplant list for more than a year.  On February 4th Carmona’s broken heart was mended he received a heart transplant.

Dr. Si Pham and Dr. Javier Jimenez who headed the surgery say it was success.

Carmona was at the peak of his music career when his heart condition took a turn for the worst eight years ago. Because of the ailment, he had to stop doing what loved because he regularly felt weak, had trouble breathing, and lacked energy to do everyday activities.

So when the call came in that they had found him a heart, his outlook on life changed.

“Ever since my son was born I was sick so he is still waiting to play ball with his day and going to the park so that is going to be one of my most immediate plans,”  said Carmona about his 8 year-old son.

That plan will become a reality sooner than expected Carmona went home Tuesday and doctors say he should live a healthy and normal life.  As for his music career, Carmona says he probably will not play professionally but does plan on picking up the sax soon. After all, he made a promise to the team at Jackson Memorial Hospital to write them a song.

“I am just blessed that someone gave up their heart to give me life,” said Carmona before going home with his family.

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